Long Live RSS

I was at a cafe in London, reading a gossip newspaper (I enjoyed it). My friend, who tries hard to only read paper books, magazines and newspapers (like The Financial Times), was clicking around on his phone most of the morning.

“I’m not reading as much anymore”, he said, “and I’m less satisfied with it.”

Inspired by all the ‘paper’ talk, later that day I picked up a “real” copy of Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue. That was good.

And in the following weeks, I started skimming the Financial Times when I’d grab a coffee.

In truth, I preferred the gossip magazines, but above all I enjoyed the feel and smell of the paper/coffee mix.


The thing about the Financial Times is that its articles are written by professional writers. People whose job it is to fill space with entertaining-enough words. For FT readers, I suppose, that’s reporting on what the former prime minister of Japan said about architecture, or what some ‘experts’ predict is going to happen in London. “Who relates to this stuff?”, I found myself wondering.

Thanks to blogs, I’ve spent years reading amateur writers. Stories directly from those doing the doing (not those payed to generate interesting stories).

Those who don’t (necessarily) write to further their career, or to build their resume, or to fill space in a magazine or a book.

Imagine what we’d know about hyper-globalized internet businesses if we’d waited for journalists to cover them? (Do they even qualify as a “growth sector” yet?)

The best amateur writers tinker around during the week and, when they get a chance, come back to their blog and share with us.

Aside from picking up a great book, my favorite reading habit is waking up in the morning and opening up my blog reader (called “RSS” reader).

For those of you who don’t use RSS here’s a video on how it works. You can sign up with a feed reader (my current favorite is Feedly). Your RSS reader will update when the blogs you follow do the same.

I don’t use RSS to track trends or watch industries. I don’t subscribe to blogs that update multiple times a day or are run by ‘professional’ companies. I avoid anything regarding the “media”–  and, by that, I mean pundits, opinions, and news. That’s the quickest way to get sick of your RSS reader.

I like to keep my RSS reader free from junk. I mostly follow simple, single author blogs written from experiences which update once a day or less. Practitioners in their field who are sharing their experiences and stories as they happen.

Much internet ink has been spilled about the ‘end of blogs’, but the writers that I’ve been following– many for close to a decade– are alive and well and, moreover, seem to be profiting (at a minimum spiritually!) from their efforts to create meaningful writing for others to connect over and comment on.

In 2006, when I first started a career in entrepreneurship, it was books that primarily gave me the tools to launch a business, but it was blogs which helped give me inspiration, on-the-ground tactics and like-minds to connect with. I’ve since met, or talked with, many of the authors who helped guide me on this journey.

If you haven’t ever thought of adding blogs to your daily reading ritual, I encourage you to check out Feedly. The accounts are free. You can paste this blog’s URL (tropicalmba.com) into the “add content” area and see how it works. 

Do you read blogs via RSS?

I’d love to hear some of your favorites as I’m always looking to update my reader.